Chief Minister orders judicial probe into Navi Mumbai land allotment

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Jul 2018 10:52:05


Special Correspondent,

Enquiry to cover 200 similar cases during the tenure of the previous Congress-NCP Govt

Slams the Opposition for levelling ‘baseless charges’, demands resignation of Leader of Opposition

Defusing the attack mounted by Congress in alleged land scam in Navi Mumbai, a combative Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis claimed that the land had been given to farmers as per the directions issued by previous Democratic Front (DF) Government. Tearing through the Opposition attack and turning down the demand for his resignation, he announced a judicial enquiry into Navi Mumbai land allotment ‘and 200 similar cases during the term of the previous Government’.

“Let there be ‘doodh ka doodh, paani ka paani’. But I must say that the Opposition leaders should not follow blindly what their seniors tell them. Else, they will have to face such embarrassment repeatedly,” Fadnavis said while displaying a fine blend of aggression and oratory, during his reply to the debate on Navi Mumbai land allotment in Legislative Assembly on Thursday. Turning down the demand of Leader of Opposition (Assembly) Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, who sought the Chief Minister’s resignation over the allegations, Fadnavis said that Vikhe-Patil should resign for levelling ‘baseless charges’. Attacking Vikhe-Patil over ‘baseless allegations’, Fadnavis said, “Hum kanch ke ghar mein nahi rehate. Par, jo kaanch ke ghar mein rehte hain, woh dusron par patthar nahi fenka karte.” (We do not live in glass house. But, those who live in glass house should not pelt stones at others.)

“There is no corruption in releasing land to farmers. The previous Government also had released a whopping 606 hectares land to farmers in last several years,” the Chief Minister said while turning the tables on the Opposition. Coming down heavily on the Opposition parties, the Chief Minister assured to continue the process of transfer of land to the farmers by Additional Collector.
Fadnavis also announced to frame a policy for such land deals. Applications of 12 project-affected farmers are pending with Additional Collector concerned, he told the Assembly.

As Legislative Assembly resumed business on Thursday, Vikhe-Patil moved an adjournment motion against the State Government over alleged land scam. He said, “Chief Minister is involved in this massive land scam. Therefore, the Speaker should allow adjournment motion against the Government.” Speaker Haribhau Bagade rejected the demand and the Opposition members trooped into well of the House raising slogans against the Government. Due to pandemonium, the House was adjourned twice -- first for 15 minutes and then for entire Question Hour.

As the House again resumed for conducting business, the Speaker rejected the adjournment motion tabled by Vikhe-Patil but allowed him to express his views. Vikhe-Patil and former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan alleged that State Government had ‘mysteriously’ transferred land near Navi Mumbai Airport to eight farmers and then these farmers sold the land in question to a builder Bhatija. Though the cost of the land is a whopping Rs 2,000 crore, it has been sold out at Rs 3.5 crore only. Both the leaders alleged that the land had been sold without prior permission of CIDCO.
Vikhe Patil demanded resignation of Devendra Fadnavis over alleged land scam.

In his reply, Chief Minister Fadnavis said that the previous Government had transferred lands to farmers as per the directions of the High Court and the Supreme Court. DF Government had transferred 320 hectares of land to Koyana Dam project-affected farmers, and 286 hectares to partially affected farmers. Additional Collector concerned had allowed land transfer to the farmers as per the directions of the then State Government. The total cost of 606 hectares of land may be around Rs 50,000 crore, he added.

Blasting the Congress leaders for levelling ‘false charges’, a well-prepared Chief Minister said that if the Government had to conduct judicial enquiry of land deals, it would have to do it with retrospective effect as such land transfers had happened during the tenures of former Chief Ministers Late Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan too. However, he added, the files for such land transfers never came to the office of the Chief Minister or any other minister as powers had been delegated to Additional Collector by the erstwhile Government.

Replying to an allegation of giving authority to farmers to sell the land to builder, Fadnavis showed around 200 files of 7/12 abstracts in the House and added that all these farmers had sold their land to builders. The previous Government had transferred land from Class-II to Class-I. Class-I land can be sold by the owner. He said, the Government is owner of the land and CIDCO is only a planning authority of the land. As per the direction of the Supreme Court, the first

preference will be given to original land owner instead of
other authority. Adding the element of sarcasm to his fiery speech, Fadnavis said that ‘Mumbai-based leaders’ did not know if land was sold in acres also. “Agricultural land cannot be sold in square feet,” he added. The ready reckoner cost of the land is Rs 5.30 crore. If the land is converted to category of non-agricultural use, conservation charges will be around Rs 233 crore and it also involved a long process, he added.

Vikhe Patil expressed surprise over the Chief Minister demanding his resignation. “Instead of tendering resignation himself over the scam, the Chief Minister is demanding my resignation. This is surprising,” he said.
MLA Ram Kadam demanded an apology from Vikhe Patil in the House for levelling false allegations against the Chief Minister. Amid din, the House was adjourned for 15 minutes. As the House resumed business, the Ruling Party members raised voice demanding apology from the Leader of Opposition, following which the House was adjourned for the day.


‘Land transferred to builder when Chavan was CM’

Blasting former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan for levelling ‘baseless allegations’, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis informed the Assembly that a forest land situated near a water body in Mouza Varsoli near Wax Museum in Lonawala was given to one Jajodia. Earlier, the Government had rejected the proposal for transfer of this land to Jajodia as it was in green zone and situated near forest. “However, the then Government allowed to change zoning of the land from green belt to residential belt. This happened during the regime of the then Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. And, the said land was sold within 24 hours to a builder Bhatija,” Fadnavis hit back. He suggested Chavan to keep away from misleading charges as he had not studied the matter. “Even you (Chavan) may not be aware about such land dealings,” he remarked.